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BMW Warning Lights: The Guide

BMW Warning Lights: The Guide

Do you have a BMW but you are unsure what the lights mean? Getting a new or new to you car is exciting, but adjusting to new systems can be daunting.

If you're not sure what the yellow flashing symbol appearing on your BMW dashboard is trying to tell you, don’t panic! Our comprehensive guide is here to decipher each warning light and advise you on the necessary actions when they light up.

Today's BMW vehicles, including popular models like the 3 Series, X3, and 1 Series, are equipped with sophisticated sensors that monitor every system's behaviour within the car. These dashboard lights serve as indicators, signalling when a particular system is not functioning as intended. Some of these warnings are critical, but some are optional; if you have a non-critical alert on your dashboard, once it has been checked out by your BMW specialist, you can just ask them to switch the alert off for you.

In summary, BMW warning lights follow a colour system similar to traffic lights:


If a symbol is green, it’s good news: normal operation is in progress or the system is currently in use, but no problems have been identified. Examples of this are your:

  • headlamp symbol
  • fog light symbol
  • high beam symbol
  • indicator arrows
  • cruise control on

These will all normally show as green, telling you that they are in use, but there is nothing to worry about. The High Beam Asst symbol is the exception, which is blue.


A yellow symbol suggests an issue that requires attention – proceed with caution. You may need to address  the issue by booking into your local garage or BMW specialist. Examples of these caution symbols are:

  • Low fuel
  • Low washer fluid
  • Engine management light
  • Service needed
  • Handbrake on
  • Seatbelt NOT on
  • Low tire pressure
  • Oil level low


If your warning symbol is red, it means that your car’s computer system has detected a severe, potentially hazardous problem – cease driving as soon as it is safe to do so and get help. Serious warning symbols include:

  • Brake warning
  • Engine oil level or oil pressure
  • Charging system warning

Your user manual will provide you with a complete guide to your BMW and what the specific lights and symbols mean. However, if you notice a persistent warning light and you are unsure what it means or why it is coming on, or you have a red warning light, take it to your local BMW diagnostics specialist as soon as possible. They will be able to identify the problem and either fix it, or deactivate the warning for you.

At Trust A Garage we are committed to helping our customers find local garages that they know they can trust. If you are looking for a BMW specialist near you, check out our directory of trusted, rated local garages.

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